Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Diagnostic Tests. How and why diagnostic tests for learners

Diagnostic tests are used to diagnose or identify the problems of the learner in learning a particular area of content and achievement in that area. The diagnostic test helps to locate on the exact area of difficulty or exact reasons of difficulty.  (Achievement tests also have some diagnosing values, but the roughly identify the reasons.)  A diagnostic tests aimed only diagnosing the difficulties and not the achievement.
The diagnostic tests can be:
·         At higher level classes a diagnostic test can measure learning problems of specified difficult areas to find out what are the difficulties of achievement in those areas.
·         In lower level classes (school levels) the diagnostic test can be from low difficulty area or easy area. In other words, for lower classes, the questions for a diagnostic test are mostly from low difficulty level as the purpose is to identify the learners’ weaknesses and limitations.  (In achievement test the questions are varied with different difficulty levels. But in diagnostic tests they are from either low difficulty level or high level. Mostly from low difficulty level)
·         In diagnostic tests, questions arranged on learning area wise, It can can’t ask one question from first unit, second from fifth unit and so. Content wise sequential arrangement is needed in asking questions
·         Diagnostic tests are much larger than achievement tests, because we cannot ask many dimensions in same question. One question - one answer is the best system. From a small area itself we have to ask many questions.
·         Diagnostic tests are larger in size doesn’t mean test for more marks. It means more questions from a same area.
Administration of Diagnostic Tests
Diagnostic tests can be done in two occasions:
a.       A teacher can grasp the difficulties of students in certain areas of learning by going through their learning tasks. The responses of learners also will help a teacher to identify the difficulties. In such cases, teacher can administer diagnostic tests to find out the depth of difficulties.
b.      Diagnostic tests are mostly administered after the conduct of achievement tests. By achievement test, teacher can see the difficulty areas of the learner and based on that the diagnostic tests can be prepared. The analysis of answer helps to identify the difficulty areas of the achievement test (question wise analyses)  Identifying the difficulty areas means to see the areas those are mostly unanswered. The unanswered areas are the difficulty areas for the learners. For diagnostic test, the questions should be from these unanswered areas and they should be simple questions.
c.       Normally diagnostic tests are constituted with objective type questions and short answer type questions. But it is not mandatory. If a teacher find out that the difficulty is with answering an essay, such questions can also be included.

·         A diagnostic test can be so simple in its language and directions and so on. Because it aimed to identify the difficulties in learning.
·         Sufficient time should be provided for attending the questions. Mostly , there is no need of question wise time limit for a diagnostic tests
·         Diagnostic tests are not to measure the achievement of the learner. It is to identify the difficulties of learner in content area/s.
·         The diagnostic test after achievement test must be prepared for the most unanswered areas only.
·         The diagnostic tests are to be followed a diagnostic analysis and remedial teaching.

Prognostic tests

The test can be conducted in anticipatory to identify the possible difficulties of a learner in a particular content are. Such tests are called prognostic tests.  

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